The Connected States of America
Are our borders really the edges of our communities? The “internet guy” in me says “of course not” but that doesn’t really take into account how much of our day-to-day interaction takes place in geographical meatspace. But on the other hand, many of America’s state borders are very arbitrary delineations of latitude or since-bridged rivers, so how meaningful are they in 2013, really?
What would our borders and communities look like if we looked at other data, like phone calls? At Krulwich Wonders…, Robert Krulwich has taken a look at a couple of alternate “neighborhoods”.
The photo above was assembled from anonymous mobile phone data by MIT’s Xiaoji Chen, and it which regions call each other the most often. Anyone who’s been to my neck of the woods in Austin knows that Texans don’t call people in Oklahoma much (or College Station, for that matter), and the NorCal/SoCal split shows that the differences there go beyond suntans and dotcoms. And people in the Plains apparently just want to call anyone they can that doesn’t live in the Plains.
“What’s it like out there? Just grass here.”
Check out the rest of Robert’s post for more phone fun, plus a little look at how (not) far our money travels (and what that says about us).
Who doesn’t want happiness? For most people, the question of how to achieve it is right up there with that of wondering what happens to us when we die. And psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky is on the forefront of helping everyone find some answers, both through tireless research as well as with her books, like “The How of Happiness” (2007) and its just-published follow-up, “The Myths of Happiness.”
Yahoo articles are usually hit-and-miss, but this one mentions a couple good things to keep in mind. Now go and be happy!
I feel pretty good, Mr. President. I feel pretty good.
Don’t let anyone tell you this world is getting dumber. It’s not, and I see proof of that every day here in our online museum of curiosity. Sure, something’s changing about the way we engage with our best and brightest, but I refuse to give in to the cynicism of doubt. This is part of the new classroom, and the old one will catch up soon enough. Here, everyone can learn in their own way, at their own pace, often in subjects they would never encounter, and from hundreds of teachers instead of one.
Plus not one of those kids is wearing white sneakers with his khakis, and that’s a victory for science stereotypes! So yeah, I feel hopeful about the future.
Who would you most like to share a breath with?
Since shooting the latest episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart, “Whose Air Do We Share?”, I haven’t been able to escape those poetic feels that come with knowing we all really do share the same air. I mean, our atmosphere’s 1044 molecules of air is a lot, but given enough time we will share at least a few of those with everyone, living or dead. That’s pretty awesome.
Not only does it give me a wonderful sense of connection with people I’ll never get to meet, but it reminds me that we have to be careful about what we’re putting in the air up there.
My answer is pretty obvious (just look at the GIF above), but I want to hear from you all (it will make sense after you watch the video at the link, of course): Living or dead, science-y or not, famous or anonymous, whose air are you most excited to share?
This is beautiful!
Women in Burkina Faso are excited to see the new power mill that Peace Corps Volunteer Brook Abitz helped the local women’s association fund for the community.
Happy helping! Smile for building communities, for volunteering, for helping your fellow man.
STUDY: Office Cats Increase Productivity
Want your employees to work harder? Get a cat. At least, that’s according to new research from the University of Buffalo.
A study, which was released today on the school’s website, found that having cats present in an office environment increased worker output by as much as 45%.
“What we found was not so much that people worked harder,” said researcher William Fry, “but that they had fewer distractions. They no longer had to go to Internet sites like I Can Has Cheezburger or The Fluffington Post to get their cat fix — they just had to glace over to the next cubicle.”
On second thought, this study doesn’t seem credible.
Smiles at work! Post copies of this study all over the office, sneak them under your boss’s door, and create magazines for the bathroom with just these findings and this picture over and over…for when people spend more than 5 minutes in the bathroom…
Anyway, Office Cats.
I’ve never experienced a more wonderful time having my car serviced. Talked with an 80 year old Portuguese man, a retired butcher with 58 years of marriage under his belt, for fifteen minutes. He, with a bright spirit and warm heart, offered me a bit of advice in life. He reminded me to “how do you kids say, go with the flow?”, to not lose sight of what’s important, and to never stop trying to improve, but still be happy with who I am. Thank you for bringing joy to my day!
A smile a day keeps the doctor away…or something like that. I started this blog because I realized that I (and probably many others do this as well) move too quickly through life, get caught up in silly issues-that-aren’t-issues, and forget to love, laugh, and SMILE.
Happiness, true happiness, comes from within - you have to be motivated to be happy, to stay happy, to find things and people that strengthen the happy. Others can’t really MAKE you happy.
So, on rough days, on days where it’s hard to lift up your spirit, on dark days (or, really, any day you just want to smile), visit this site and hopefully you’ll find some bits and pieces of happiness to strengthen and respark your inner happy. Because I know it’s there. Because I know the power that 28 little pegs (or 25, or, you know, 0) can have on another set of pearly whites.
It’s smile time, lemon lime. So get to it.